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Manet is the first artist expressing the willingness to depict urban universe with a quick and fluid touch which abolishes the illusionist depictions of space.
Born into a bourgeois family of Paris in January 23th 1832, Edouard Manet studied the work of important masters at the Couture workshop during 6 years. The influence of his travels throughout Europe and Japan led to his first paintings such as Music in the Tuileries (1862) or Lunch on grass (1863). These paintings depict scenes coming from daily life and claimed by his friend Baudelaire.
His first painting exhibited at the Salon on 1861 - The Spanish guitarist – was a great success and caused, over the years, criticisms and controversies that saddened the artist. To avoid rejection of institutions, he preferred organized exhibitions in his studio and participate in those of his impressionist friends.
In 1863, Manet depicted the two major works that gave birth to modern painting: Lunch on grass and Olympia. These paintings shocked public because of naturalism of characters and the abolition of perspective, half-tones, volume, and chiaroscuro only leaving flat shapes contrasted by vibrant blacks. In subsequent years, he began to paint still lifes in large colored buttons.
From 1863, Manet attended the impressionist group with Baudelaire, Zola, and Mallarmé, themselves supporting an art capable of representing the contemporary life. The following paintings showed Manet’s interest in simple scenes and characters frozen with lost sight: The Balcony (1868), The Plum (1878).